Celebrating 200 years of Charles Dickens

Dickens 2012 was an international celebration of the life and work of Charles Dickens to mark his 200th birthday which fell on 7 February 2012. Coordinated by the Charles Dickens Museum and Film London, we worked with over 50 countries worldwide to coordinate an exciting range of educational and cultural events to commemorate this special anniversary.

Although he was a writer from the Victorian era, Dickens’s work has transcended time, language and culture to remain a contemporary influence throughout the world. His writings have continued to inspire TV, film, art and literature.

In Malaysia, we conducted the following events to mark the celebration of his life and writings:

  • European Union Film Festival
    Charles Dickens adaptations Oliver Twist (1922) and Great Expectations (1946) were screened in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, from 10 – 20 November 2011
  • The Well Lit. Sessions
    On 22 February 2012, we invited the editor and literary critic of New Straits Times to collaborate with us on a special Charles Dickens session of the newspapers very popular book club, to discuss the life and writings of this prolific author. The Well Lit. Sessions were held in Kuala Lumpur and George Town, Penang.
  • Dickens Global Read-a-thon
    On 7 February 2012, an extract from a different Dickens text was read each hour throughout the day in countries around the world from China to Pakistan, Albania to Russia. Each five minute reading was uploaded onto the @BritishCouncil Twitter feed and onto the #Dickens2012 stream: on the hour, every hour. Malaysia was represented by seven readers.
  • The Uncommercial Traveller
    Arcola Theatre and Punchdrunk Enrichment have set out to rediscover the resonance of Charles Dickens’s creative process for the 21st century. They lead a unique series of collaborations in cities across Asia and Australia, creating theatrical audio-guided journeys in each location. Each audio journey is then launched at a special event for local audiences, as well as being available to download, offering wider audiences a creative encounter – from a distance – with each city.

The Uncommercial Traveller took place in April 2012 in George Town, Penang, saw the involvement of ten students from University Science Malaysia working with Raquel Meseguer and Stephen Dobbie from Punchdrunk, and Bryn Jones from Arcola Theatre. They produced four audio journeys across the culturally diverse UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town. Each audio journey lasts for around ten minutes and takes the listener on a path to discover what the participants felt and experienced. Included is a special 17 min track which sweeps through several streets and concludes on a Chinese clan jetty.